Counterfeit Christmas Lights Just Part of a Growing Crime Among Electrical Products

December 4, 2009

BETHESDA, Md., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ — Counterfeit Christmas lights are just the tip of the iceberg in the fast-growing crime of counterfeit electrical products, which now rank 5th among counterfeit seizures in the United States. Often carrying fake Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) labels, counterfeit holiday lights, extension cords and multiple-outlet power strips pose a threat to consumers for their potential inability to meet electrical safety and fire codes. Extension cords with mislabeled, undersized wiring can overheat, and counterfeit lights are potential fire hazards. Counterfeiting has now reached epic proportions in a $130 billion industry — 90+ percent of which are imported from China.

“We’ll continue to work with industry leaders to eliminate counterfeit electrical products, which threaten the lives and safety of electrical workers and U.S. citizens,” said John Maisel, publisher of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine at www.ecmag.com, who spearheaded the Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative with The Electrical Distributor (TED) magazine at www.counterfeitscankill.com. Both publications will continue to run anti-counterfeit editorial next year.

Warning signals for counterfeit lighting include surprisingly low prices, unusual labeling or certification marks and a lack of sales tax on a receipt since counterfeiters generally don’t report their sales. Consumers should also be aware of street vendors and unauthorized dealers.

According to UL, holographic labels were developed to further thwart the piracy of UL labels, with the first holograms introduced in 1993 for decorative lighting strings and outfits. Since the holograms were successful, additional categories for products manufactured in China also required holographic labels and more requirements were added last year including the newest gold holograms.

Counterfeit electrical products include circuit breakers that can fail to trip in the event of an overload or a short circuit, power adapters, lighting products and cell phone batteries without a safety device in the circuitry to prevent overcharging.

Sponsors of the Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative include Alcan Inc., Eaton Corp., Fluke Electronics, GE, Graybar, NSi Tork, Siemens Energy and Automation, Inc. and Square D Company, a brand of Schneider Electrical Southwire.

Link to the anti-counterfeit products webinar earlier this year: http://www.ecmag.com/video/?id=4&filename=webinar%2Eflv

Published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md., Electrical Contractor magazine delivers 85,300+ electrical contractors and more than 68,000 electrical contracting locations, more than any other industry publication. Telephone: (301) 657-3110. Web site: www.ecmag.com.


Source: newswire

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